Rangeley is situated near the middle of the western
side of Franklin County. Dallas plantation bounds it on the east, Rangeley plantation on the south, and a part
of Oxford County on the west. The area is 25,792 acres. The southern third of the town, almost from the eastern
to the western line, a distance of eight miles, is occupied by Rangeley Lake. On the north-eastern angle of the
lake and three miles north of Greenvale is “Rangeley City,” the village of the town. On the south-eastern angle
is the steamer-landing in Greenvale village, at the head of the lake. At the western end is Bald Mountain, constituting
the divide between Rangeley and Mooselucmaguntic lakes. Its height is about 4,000 feet above the level of the sea.
The head of Rangeley Lake is itself 1512 feet above tide-water. The other principal sheets of water in the town
are Quimby, Dodge and Round ponds, each about one mile in length. Indian Rock, a noted fishing place, is situated
at the extreme west of the town, where the outlet of Rangeley Lake discharges into Cupsuptic Lake. A post-office
was recently established here.
Rangeley village contains above 20 dwelling houses, two stores, a post office, a carriage shop, two blacksmith
shops, a boat-builders shop, a saw-mill, shoe shop, and two hotels,—one being quite large. One of these mills is
run by steam-power. Excellent boats for use in the region are constructed here. The nearest railroad station is
that of the Sandy River Railroad at Phillips.
The most numerous varieties of trees in this town are spruce, birch and maple. The soil is in some parts loam,
in others, somewhat marly. The crops cultivated with success are wheat, oats, barley and potatoes. Much lumbering
is done in the region, and summer tourists also afford considerable profit. Rangeley was incorporated as a town
in 1855. It has its name from an English gentleman, who, having emigrated to New York, by some of his business
transactions became unintentionally the proprietor of the tract. After a few pioneer families had made clearings
and erected cabins, he visited the place, and was so well pleased with this piece of wilderness that he undertook
to reproduce the English system of landlord and tenant here. He erected a twostory mansion of good architecture
in a beautiful situation, and removed thither with his accomplished family. He found little sympathy and some opposition
among the increasing community, but persevered in the erection of mills and opening of roads, securing the rapid
development of a flourishing settlement. The attention of the settlers was largely turned to grazing, and they
soon found a sale for their surplus cattle at their own doors. When lumbering increased there was a ready market
for their hay. The Niles and Toothaker families are peculiarly worthy of mention for their exertions in developing
the latent resources of northern Franklin.
Mr. Rangeley continued to reside at the lake for fifteen years, observing in social life much of the form and ceremony
practised by the English nobility. His daughter dying, he at length sold his property here, and with his wife,
removed to Portland, where they resided for several years. From thence be removed to Henry County, N.C., where
he died. Rangeley sent 10 men to the aid of the Union in the war of the Rebellion, losing four. The town has four
public schoolhouses and its entire school property is valued at $2,400. The value of estates in 1870 was $75,239.
In 1880 it was $103,241. The rate of taxation in the latter year was 11 mills on $1. The population in 1870 was
313. In 1880 it was 180.